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Sundance Cinematographers Name Their Favorite DPs: Roger Deakins, Gordon Willis and More

Sundance Cinematographers Name Their Favorite DPs: Roger Deakins, Gordon Willis and More

As part of our How I Shot That series, Indiewire asked cinematographers with films at this year’s Sundance to name their favorite directors of photography (no surprise that Roger Deakins, Harris Savides and Gordon Willis are mentioned quite a bit).

Here they list some of their favorite cinematographers (and explain why):

“I really enjoyed the film ‘Armadillo’ in part due to the
cinematic moments Lars Skree captured away from the frontline. I was
incredibly intimidated and excited when I had the opportunity to assist
him a few years later on an Afghanistan shoot. He quickly put me at ease
and was constantly offering to teach as we worked, which is very rare
during a shoot. I hope I’ll get to work with him again!” — Cinematographer Rachel Beth Anderson (“E-Team”)

“Can I just give you a small list? Conrad Hall, Gordon Willis, and Harris
Savides will live as legends in my eyes forever. I respect and
appreciate the choices they’ve made to create amazing
bodies of work. I look up to them for inventing new aesthetics for every
film and taking risks to help tell their stories. In recent years, I
also admire Chivo and Hoyta Van Hoytema. These guys have a touch for
creating looks that give their films so much depth and texture while
maintaining a subtle hand on the images” — Cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt (“Low Down”) 

“I must say that Harris Savides was always on the top for me. He
was a master with available and ambient light and was not afraid of
darkness. I could watch ‘Birth’ over and over again and constantly marvel
at the mastery of his work. I am huge fan of Eric Gautier’s as well.” — Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski (“Infinity Polar Bear”)

“Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC. For all the reasons you can think of.” — Cinematographer James Chressanthis (“Cesar’s Last Fast”)

“I have so many! If I had to name one, recently, I’ve really enjoyed
the work of Sean Bobbitt, BSC. His handheld camerawork and simple,
straightforward approach to lighting is something I really admire.
Every movie he does is an immersive, textured and energetic visual
experience.” — Cinematographer Alex Disenhof (“Fishing Without Nets”)

“Gordon Willis. Why? ‘Annie Hall,’ ‘Manhattan,’ and ‘All the President’s Men.'” — Cinematographer John Guleserian (“Song One”)

“This is a hard question because how am I to say that Jack
Cardiff is better than Douglas Slocombe or that Roger Deakins is better
than Lance Accord? They are all my heroes. That said, I think that Sven
Nykvist is my all time favorite cinematographer. There’s just
something about his minimalism and use of soft light that lulls me into a
hypnotic trance every time. Though he worked with countless amazing
directors I look at his collaboration with Ingmar Bergman and I dream of
having a similar lifelong creative partnership.” — Cinematographer Jay Hunter (“Life After Beth”)

“I don’t have one favorite cinematographer. I watch a lot of films and I
learn something from each. From every movie I learn what I like, what I
don’t like, what works best and what doesn’t. We live in a time when
everything is shot, there’s a camera and a screen every place you go,
all the time. People film their newborn babies, and also political
revolutions, on their phones. And I sit and watch and learn from all of
it.” — Cinematographer Shachar Langlev (“Alive Inside: A Story & Memory of Music”)

Read More: 5 Tips From Master Cinematographer Gordon Willis

“I like Derek Cianfrance’s work. He is an awesome cinematographer
who has the vision to also pull off being a director, of both documentaries and
narratives.” — Cinematographer Rex Miller (“Private Violence”)

“Sean Bobbitt, BSC. I love his aesthetic and his simple approach to
lighting. Everything I
see him work on is shot beautifully. His eye for composition is amazing.
I particularly love his work and approach to “The Place Beyond the
Pines.”
That film was so well done and executed so simply. Nothing grandiose in
the tools used, just very thoughtful work. It’s inspiring because it
shows us that anyone can do it. A small budget
might present some limitations, but all limitations can be overcome with
creativity and thoughtful filmmaking. If the story is there, and it’s
great, no budget is too small. I feel the same way about Bob Yeoman,
ASC.” — Cinematographer Topher Osborn (“Dear White People”)

“Roger Deakins’ shot economy is really quite stunning. I absolutely
love Emmanuel Lubezki’s work with Terrence Malick. I’m also a big fan of
younger DPs Autumn Durald and Bradford Young.” — Cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo (“Rich Hill”)

“I have a lot of favorite cinematographers, never really can land on
calling one my favorite. But I gravitate towards cinematographers who
have a versatile style and let the story and characters of each film
depict what the aesthetics will be. It’s what I strive for in myself.
Lance Acord, Matthew Libatique and Rodrigo Prieto are a few.” — Cinematographer Brett Pawlak (“Hellion”)

“This is always a hard one, and changes frequently.
Certainly Roger Deakins has always been a big influence, as well as
Lance Accord and the late Harris Savides. But I’m super impressed by
Greg Fraser’s recent films and Mihai Malaimare Jr’s work on ‘The
Master.'” — Cinematographer Sean Porter (“Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter”)

“Harris Savides. I love everything about his work, from his
compositions, to his lighting, to the photochemical and exposure
manipulations he used. Always effortlessly beautiful, Harris’
cinematography also drew you into the films he shot in the best
possible way.” — Cinematographer Ben Richardson (“Happy Christmas”)

“Gordon Willis is my favorite because he expressed the vision of so many different
auteurs and defined the era of 70’s cinema just as much as the directors
and writers who were part of that movement.” — Cinematographer and director Andrew Rossi (“Ivory Tower”)

“Its probably cliché to say [Roger] Deakins, but his effortless play
with light and shadow, ability to consistently create shots that tell so
much, and still be so jaw droppingly gorgeous is something to be
studied and admired.” — Cinematographer Ryan Samul (“Cold In July”)

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